How to clean your car to limit virus spread

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The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) is urging drivers to upgrade vehicle hygiene practices to help minimise the risk of spreading COVID-19.

In addition to following all government hygiene protocols, below are some measures that may further reduce the spread of the disease.

  • Use disinfectant wipes to clean ‘high-contact’ surfaces in cars every time they’re used.
  • High-contact surfaces can include door handles, steering wheels, gear shift knobs, shift paddles, indicator and wiper stalks and entertainment or navigation systems. Vehicle key fobs, seats, interior grab handles, doors, armrests, additional display screens, cup holders and air-conditioning vents could also be wiped down after vehicle use.
  • Limit vehicle passengers as much as possible to maximise social distance.
  • Take care not to damage vinyl, plastic, paint or other surface coatings with aggressive chemicals such as bleach, hydrogen peroxide or high concentration alcohol sanitiser. While these chemicals will disinfect the surface, they may discolour them or remove surface coatings.
  • Take particular care when refuelling your vehicle and ensure that hands are washed or sanitised after handling fuel pumps and touching cash or EFT terminals and any other public surfaces during the transaction.

FCAI chief executive Tony Weber said taking these simple measures can help stem the rising tide of infections without affecting mobility.

“As social distancing measures limit transportation options, Australians are looking to their cars as a more isolated means to conduct essential travel, and in some cases are even receiving vital infection screening from their vehicle.”

“Maintaining hygiene can assist in preventing transmission. It is just as important as cleaning any other surface. Cars should be sanitised every time they are entered or exited.”

“With common sense and consistency, we can help to limit the spread of coronavirus and mitigate the impact of disrupting essential mobility,” Mr Weber said.

Additional information about sanitising practice can be found here and here.

Have you been sanitising your vehicle in the past month? Do you clean after every outing?

Paul Murrell is a motoring writer and creator of, which specialises in “car advice for people whose age and IQ are both over 50”. This article first appeared on

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Total Comments: 7
  1. 0

    how do u make disinfecting wipes ?? there are non in the shops

  2. 0

    Look up Shannon Lush – she has recipe for Sanitiser and you can make this up to a solution and spray on to a kitchen Paper towel – the use as a wipe

  3. 0

    I sanitise all parts of the car inside and out that I or anyone else touches with a wipe soaked in disinfectant after every trip. Also my purse, handbag and any cards used.

  4. 0

    I wholeheartedly agree with sanitising your car but another risk is that because of staying home unless necessary travel, you may run the risk of the car battery going flat if you don’t run the engine. Not everyone has a battery-charger in the garage.
    People might say “just start the car and let it run for so long in the garage”. Be careful! You may run the risk of carbon-monoxide poisoning doing this unless you well ventilate the garage by leaving doors and windows wide open and don’t stay in the garage when this is happening.
    My husband, if he were still living, would say that it is better to have the car moving. I was thinking of driving around the block a couple of times to charge the battery but am fearful that I may receive a $1000 fine for not having a better reason for being on the road even if I don’t get out of the car until I get back home. What does anyone else think?

    • 0

      Exccellent point, Teacher. Running the car in the garage does require leaving doors and windows open. If the battery is in good health, it will take a few minutes to replace the power you used to start the engine. If the car needs a jump start, it will take at least 30 minutes to get it recharged to the same level as a 10km drive. It’s not worth risking a fine to drive around the block, so take the car when you have to go shopping or on another essential excursion. Good luck!

    • 0

      Hello Teacher, Your late husband was correct your car needs to have movement not only for the battery but mainly for all other moving parts getting lubricated. I live in a retirement village with our mailboxes at the main gate; I drive to get my mail for that very reason.

  5. 0

    Maybe too late for this post, but anti bacterial wipes do not affect the CV19. It is a virus not a bacteria. SOAP or detergent with a little water kills CV dead. So do alcohol wipes but they need some water as well, so neat alcohol is not the go.

    Just use soapy water. That’s why they tell you to wash your hands in….soapy water !



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